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Best of Okinawa rolls out at Industrial Fair

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2007-10-27

If you’ve ever wondered about all the things Okinawa does, and the products made here, this weekend is your chance to get answers to just about everything.

The 31st Annual Okinawa Industrial Festival kicks off a three-day run tomorrow at and around Onoyama Park in downtown Naha City. And as the name implies, the festival brings together all of Okinawa’s cities, towns and villages with all their uniquely individual crafts and products. Organizers have picked a simple, yet effective theme for this year: Churashima Origin, Glorious Okinawan Products.

For many, Okinawan products means awamori, Ryukyu glass and Kariyushi wear. In reality, that’s only the tip of the offerings from dozens of Okinawa manufacturers. The Industrial Festival runs 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with events and exhibits set up around Onoyama Park.

Okinawa’s home grown beer company, Orion, is center stage in the midst of all the excitement with its Orion Beer Garden, offering both beer and foods.

The Budoukan, known to most as the martial arts center located on the edge of the park across from Naha Port, will showcase quality Kariyushi wear, kimonos, textiles and dyed fabrics. Exhibitions of the island’s best awamori drinks‹and there are 54 awamori distillers here‹will also take place in the Budoukan, along with beauty and relaxation exhibits.

Tourism, a staple of this sub-tropical paradise, will be highlighted at the Budoukan, where visitors will see the dozens of sightseeing spots on both Okinawa and the outlying islands. Healthy Okinawan foods and cosmetics will be showcased, and vendors promise plenty of opportunities to taste and try their products. You may never have heard about the herb Gettou, but it’s a bushy, tall plant with wide leaves and pink-white flowers. Mixed together, the Gettou transforms Okinawan brand esthetic cosmetics into a paste used in facials. Gettou is grown in Ogimi Village.

A growing Okinawa requires an expanding international airport complex, and the Naha Airport Expansion PR exhibition brings visitors up to speed on what to expect at the airport in coming months and years. Entertainment is on stage in the Budoukan as well, and there’s even an Okinawan Movie Festival “Ryukyu Cowboy”.

Planning a new home or office? Remodeling what you’ve got? Around the Onoyama Park grounds are numerous exhibits of stone and other construction materials, new electrical information, agricultural and forestry information. Contractors and construction companies will talk about what they can build, and at what cost, while energy conscious groups will offer an exhibition of recycling goods.

Ryukyu glass, one of the island’s best known products, particularly Itoman City’s products, will be available at the Athletic Field. A Ryukyu pottery fair and sale takes place at nearby tennis courts. The multipurpose open spot is being transformed into a compact, miniature Okinawa, with representatives of all Okinawan cities, towns and villages bringing their products to you.

Food and drinks booths will be along the riverside walk, together with dozens of hand crafted products, health goods, yakitori and yakisoba. For simple relaxation, taking a break from the festival, visit the rest area set up at the Baseball stadium.

The Okinawa Industrial Festival is being supported by all Okinawa newspapers, radio and television organizations, as well as several from mainland Japan.

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